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Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | All eyes on EC over PM Modi's 'hate speech'; Congress demands disqualification of such candidates

Parties like CPI(M) and CPI(ML)L too joined in seeking action, including a ban from campaigning, against him, even as the EC 'declined to comment' on whether it has taken cognizance of the remarks and complaints and what action it proposes to take.
hemin Joy
Last Updated : 22 April 2024, 13:49 IST
Last Updated : 22 April 2024, 13:49 IST

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New Delhi: All eyes are on the Election Commission over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “hate speech” at a campaign rally with the Congress on Monday demanding that candidates who create division among people be disqualified as candidates.

Parties like CPI(M) and CPI(ML)L too joined in seeking action, including a ban from campaigning, against him, even as the EC “declined to comment” on whether it has taken cognizance of the remarks and complaints and what action it proposes to take.

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge sought a meeting with Modi to hand over a copy of his party’s manifesto, as the Prime Minister referred to the document to level allegations against it. Several “concerned” citizens also approached the poll body against the “communal remarks”.

Insisting that Modi’s remarks came against the backdrop of unenthusiastic reports from the first phase of polling, Congress said its candidates and workers will send copies of their party’s manifesto to PM Modi. A number of concerned citizens also emailed the EC following calls on social media.

A letter initiated by 'Samvidhan Bacchao Nagrik Abhiyan' seeking action against Modi attracted 17,421 signatures and organisers said that they have sent the letter to the Election Commission.

Targeting the Congress and its manifesto, Modi alleged in Rajasthan’s Banswara on Sunday that the opposition party would redistribute the wealth of people to “infiltrators”, “those who have more children” and “Muslims”. Kharge had retorted that Modi has now resorted to “lies” and “hate speech” to divert people from the real issues.

A Congress delegation met the Election Commission and handed over a memorandum listing a series of alleged poll code violations by Modi claiming that he is “not a candidate who will be silenced by a simple censure”.

It said Modi made “false and divisive insinuations, targeted at a particular religious community and a clear provocation to the general public to act out and breach peace, potentially against such a religious community”, accused Congress of supporting terrorists and terrorism and indulged in a “desperate attempt to falsely tarnish” the sacrifices and legacy of the 140-year-old for the sake of “petty political gains”.

“The only available remedy compatible with the principle of zero-tolerance towards allegations of corrupt practices, is the disqualification of the candidates who try to create a divide between different classes of the citizens of India regardless of the stature or position of that candidate,” it said. Modi is yet to file his nominations.

CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury also wrote to Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar saying it is “as brazen as it could get in indulgence in hate speech directed against a community” while reminding the EC that there are “earlier precedents of banning leaders for such hate speeches”.

Demanding immediate initiation of proceedings against Modi and BJP, he also said that an FIR needed to be lodged against him for inciting communal passions and hatred. Immediate action is called for to stop public debates and discussions from plummeting further and “any failure” on the part of the poll body will “further undermine” its credibility.

CPI(ML)L General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said he has written to the EC seeking action against the "rabid hate-mongering and brazen violation" of the model code of conduct and provisions of the Representation of People Act.

In Kochi, Congress General Secretary (Organisation) K C Venugopal asked what action the EC was taking when the Prime Minister was making the “worst hate speech in the history of hate speeches”.

Senior Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal asked, “what kind of culture is this? You talk of Ram Mandir, inaugurate the temple, talk about Ram's ideals and on the other hand you spread hate. Where is 'sabka saath, sabka vikaas, sabka vishvaas'. You cannot maintain India by being the groom of hate.”

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Published 22 April 2024, 13:49 IST

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